Tokyo is definitely the ideal place to go shopping in Japan. It can be a bit confusing if you’re new to the area, but there are certain shopping places that run along streets and are connected to train stations. These shopping streets are called “shotengai” in Japanese. They come in various sizes though most of them have restaurants, book shops, post offices, supermarkets, clothing shops, convenience stores, and so on. If you’d like to know which areas in Tokyo have the best shotengai, then try visiting these three places!
Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street is a local neighborhood market in the Yanaka district of Tokyo. It stretches to about 170 meters of shopping areas where you can buy fresh food, sweets, souvenirs, etc. There are many stores lining the street with an old-fashioned atmosphere, making this shotengai a popular place for foreign and local people alike.
The environment looks a bit lively with all the colorful shops and interesting people you’ll meet. You can find almost anything in this place – general goods, bento boxes, flowers, meat, vegetables, medicine, books, electric appliances, tea, shoes, and much more!
Another popular shotengai in Japan is Asagaya Pearl Center. This place doesn’t only have a shopping street but also an arcade street which stretches to 1 km. It is conveniently located to the south of Asagaya Station, a railway station on the Chuo Main Line. The place consists of many restaurants, clothing shops, vegetable stores, meat shops, food stands, and the like.
Unlike other shotengai, Asagaya Pearl Center has many clothing stores for ladies. It is also a famous venue for the annual Asagaya Tanabata Festival, one of the three greatest festivals to look out for in Japan. Do remember, however, that the place has no restroom or a parking area.
Joyful Minowa is an old-fashioned shopping street in Tokyo. It is nestled in Arakawa Ward (a special ward in Tokyo) and runs parallel to the Toden Arakawa Line, also branded as the Tokyo Sakura Tram which is the last streetcar in Tokyo’s history. Though the place may not look that fabulous, it has lesser-known spots where you can explore the daily shopping life of local people. It also has a retro atmosphere but consists of all commodities and services that people usually look for in a shotengai.
If you’re looking for a shotengai that is not so crowded, then Joyful Minowa is the place for you. Since it is quite unknown to some people, it gives you the opportunity to look around and relax. You can also bring your family and friends and go shopping together. The place is just a two-minute walk from Minowabashi Station.
These three shotengai in Tokyo are quite different from each other atmosphere-wise. However, they all offer the necessary goods and items and are all located in convenient areas. There’s nothing more fun than visiting these places when you feel like shopping for clothes and food or just looking around.